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Interview with Boniface Nwugwo, author of The Silent Immigrants

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When Boniface Nwugwo left his hometown in Eastern Nigeria in 1980 to study in America, he had only $4600 to his name for his tuition, his faith in God and an unquenchable thirst to succeed in America. In this revealing, inspiring and compelling memoir, Boniface with uncompromising candor, tells his story of courage, insurmountable struggles, and triumphs that he and many West African immigrants faced before and after coming to America demonstrating that you can reach your dreams if you persevere.

From modest beginnings as the son of a teacher in his native Imo State of Nigeria, Boniface Nwugwo overcame poverty to distinguish himself as a brilliant academic and achieve a respectable career in the information technology industry.

Through his story and the sample stories of other West African immigrants, America’s promise as land of immigrants with infinite possibilities are rekindled in this self-revealing and self-fulfilling book.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

It was during the 2010 Immigration matches and protests. I was listening to a radio show and the hosts and their guests were discussing the protests around the country and the participants. One of them made a comment about how Africans don’t ever participate in these immigration matches and protests. I said to myself, these commentators don’t actually understand anything about African immigrants. That motivated me more to write the book and title it “The Silent Immigrants”.

What is your writing environment like?

My writing environment encompasses a laptop, my flash drive and access to the Internet for quick reference checks.

What are some of the best tools available to writers today?

Microsoft Office, laptops, the Internet.

What inspires you to write?

Listening to people tell stories, or reading about problems causes me to start thinking about solutions to those problems, which causes me to start writing down my solutions to the problems or issues.

Did you learn anything while writing this book?

Yes, I learned many things about the art of writing and getting published. It can be demanding but with due diligence, one can do it.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

Not taking anyone or anything for granted.

ABOUT BONIFACE NWUGWO

Boniface Chibuzo Nwugwo was born on February 16, 1960 at Alaenyi Ogwa, in the Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State (part of what was the Eastern Region) of Nigeria. Popularly known as B.C. (as his parents refer to their children by their initials), he is the third of nine children born to Juliana and Christian Onwezi Nwugwo. His father, a retired elementary school headmaster, and his mother, a retired seamstress, live part-time in the United States, and part-time in Nigeria.

Boniface attended different elementary schools in Mbaitoli LGA due to the fact that his father as a teacher moved from school to school. He attended Obazu Community Grammar School Mbieri in Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State, graduating in 1978. After graduation from secondary school he spent 18 months working for First Bank of Nigeria while waiting to gain admission into a university. After almost two years of waiting, he travelled to America to pursue his post-secondary education even though he did not have all the resources required to make such a trip.

From the second month of his freshman year at the State University of New York at Brockport, he started working for the school’s Shipping & Receiving Department until his graduation. He graduated from the State University of New York at Brockport in 1984, with a B.S. in Computer Science. He found a job in Rochester New York and continued to pursue higher learning while working full-time, earning a Master of Public Administration in information management systems from State University of New York at Brockport in 1987, and a Master of Science in software development & management from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989.

In 1995 he relocated with his wife to the Washington DC area. He continued to work and go to school until 2003 when he completed a PhD program in information technology management from Capella University, Minneapolis/St Paul Minnesota. Boniface and his wife and their four children live in Maryland.

Boniface now runs an Information Technology Consulting business he founded in 2005. Boniface is also IEEE Senior member and member of the IEEE Computer Society and Past Chair of the IEEE Computer Society, Baltimore Chapter. He lives in Maryland with his wife Francisca and their four children – Brian, Allen, Jaine and Denzel.

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